Henry - Portrait of an MK-ULTRA Assassin?
"Henry is an unusual prisoner. He's been given a high security cell and a few special amenities ..."
Jim Boutwell, Sheriff of Williamson County, Texas
On June 30th of 1998, Henry Lee Lucas, arguably the most prolific and certainly one of the most sadistic serial killers in the annals of crime was scheduled for execution by the state of Texas. Given the advocacy of the death penalty by Governor George W. Bush, things clearly weren't looking good for Henry at that time.
Bush had not granted clemency to any condemned man in his tenure as governor. In fact, no governor of any state in the entire history of the country has carried out more judicial executions than has Governor George. At last count, the state of Texas had dispatched 130 inmates on Bush's watch.
So Texas was definitely not the place to be for a man in Henry's position. And considering the nature of Henry's crimes, it seemed a certainty that nothing would stand in the way of Henry's scheduled execution. There weren't likely to be any high-profile supporters, a la Karla Faye Tucker (though even personal appeals to Bush from the likes of Pat Robertson failed to dissuade the governor from proceeding on schedule with Miss Tucker's execution). Not likely because Henry's crimes were of a particularly brutal nature, involving rape, torture, mutilation, dismemberment, necrophilia, cannibalism, and pedophilia, with the number of victims running as high as 300-600 by some accounts - including Henry's own, at times - though this figure is likely inflated.
By all accounts though, Lucas, frequently working with partner Ottis Toole - a self described arsonist and cannibal - savagely murdered literally scores of victims of all ages, races, and genders. All indications were then that this was pretty much of a no-brainer for America's premier hanging governor. But then a most remarkable thing happened. On June 18, just twelve days before Henry's scheduled demise, Governor Bush asked the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, whose members are appointed by Bush himself, to review Henry's case. Strangely enough, eight days later the Board uncharacteristically recommended that Henry's execution not take place.
The very next day, just three days short of Henry's scheduled exit from this world, Lucas became the first - and to date only - recipient of Governor Bush's compassionate conservatism. The official rationale for this act of mercy was, apparently, that the evidence on which Lucas was sentenced did not support his conviction. There was a possibility that Henry was in fact innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. Never mind that many of the 130 death row inmates who did not get special gubernatorial attention prior to their executions had credible claims of innocence that were met with by nothing but scorn and mockery.
Suddenly Little George had developed a keen interest in not executing innocent convicts. Never mind as well that some of those who have been executed despite claims of innocence were - other than the crime for which they were being executed - law-abiding citizens. Whereas Henry was by all accounts a serial rapist, kidnapper, torturer and murderer. And never mind that once Henry was spared, Bush promptly lost this passing interest and began once again rubber stamping every execution order that crossed his desk, including that of a great-grandmother in her sixties who was convicted of killing her chronically abusive husband (Betty Lou Beets, in February 2000).
And never mind that Bush has made no effort in the two years since Henry's commutation to seek a new trial for Henry on one of the murders for which there is conclusive evidence of Lucas' guilt. Neither has he made any effort to extradite Henry to any of the other states in which Henry is wanted for various murders. It seems to me that the last time I checked, there was no statute of limitations for the crime of murder. Why is Law-and-Order George not seeking a new death sentence for Lucas? And why is it that Henry was granted full clemency, rather than a temporary stay during which his case could have been reviewed? This is exactly what Bush has just done in the case of convicted murderer Ricky Nolen McGinn.
Tellingly, the proliferation of press reports on the McGinn case, apparently meant to soften Bush's image somewhat, have made virtually no reference to the governor's earlier actions on behalf of Lucas. Reporting on the McGinn case has avoided the mention of Lucas in one of two ways: by noting that this is the first capital case for which Bush has issued a stay(which is true but deliberately deceptive), or by claiming outright that this is the first death penalty case in which Bush has intervened (which is an outright and absolutely shameless lie).
And what if Lucas was in fact falsely convicted and his innocence was so blatantly obvious that the governor had no choice but to commute Henry's sentence? What then does this say about the Texas criminal justice system and the ease with which it sends innocent men to their deaths? Are we to believe that Henry's case was an isolated one and that none of the other men put to death during Bush's reign had equally credible claims of innocence?
Clearly, there was something more at work then in the Lucas case than simply a question of guilt. There had to be another reason why Bush would take such extraordinary steps to spare the life of a man who had led a life of such brutality. And this was certainly not the first time that the criminal justice system had shown such extraordinary leniency towards Lucas.
The first big break for Henry came around 1970, when he was released early from a sentence he was then serving following his first murder conviction. Sentenced to 20-40 years, Henry was released after serving just ten. This occurred just after Henry appeared before the parole board and explained to them that he wasn't ready to return to society and would surely kill again if released. As Henry tells it, the questioning went something like this: "Now Mr. Lucas, I must ask you, if we grant you parole, will you kill again?" Henry: "Yes, sir! If you release me now, I will kill again."
Nevertheless, the board decided that ten years was an adequate amount of time to serve for the crime of killing one's mother and then violating the corpse. Fair enough. Within a year, of course, Henry found himself back in prison, this time for attempting to abduct a young girl. Despite his prior record - which began long before killing his mother - Lucas served just four years and was again released early, this time in August of 1975. Shortly thereafter, Henry and his new friend Ottis would commit an untold number of lurid murders spanning the next eight years. Henry would finally be arrested in October of 1982 on suspicion of two murders, only to be promptly released. He was not arrested again until June of 1983, and has been imprisoned ever since.
After his final arrest, Henry was taken on tour, so to speak, by various law enforcement officials around the country, during which time he confessed to some 600 murders in 26 states. There were various charges made at the time that Henry was being used by his escorts to clear troublesome unsolved murders in places he had never even been.
This quite likely was the case. Henry seemed to have a very chummy relationship with his captors, particularly the Texas Rangers, and provided a valuable service for them by taking the rap for an amazing array of murders. This alone, however, does not explain the personal attention given to Henry's case by Governor Bush.
For that, we need to look at some of the more infrequently noted details of Henry's life history, many of them provided by Lucas himself. Henry, as it turns out, has some interesting stories to tell. In 1985, just a couple years into his incarceration, he attempted to tell his story in a book, written for him by a sympathetic author. The book, titled The Hand of Death: The Henry Lee Lucas Story, tells of Henry's indoctrination into a nationwide Satanic cult. Lucas claimed that he was trained by the cult in a mobile paramilitary camp in the Florida Everglades in the fine art of killing, up close and personal. Other training involved abduction and arson techniques.
He further claimed that leaders of the camp were so impressed with Henry's handling of a knife that he was allowed to serve as an instructor. Following his training, Henry claimed to have served the cult in various ways, including as a contract killer and as an abductor of children, who were then taken just over the border to a ranch in Mexico near Juarez. Henry has said that this cult operated out of Texas and from a ranch in northern Mexico, trafficking in children and drugs, among other nefarious pursuits. In essence, Henry claimed that what appeared to be the random work of a serial killer was in fact a planned series of crimes often committed for specific purposes.
Some of the murders were political hits, according to Henry, including the occasional assassination of foreign dignitaries. This was not true for all of Henry's crimes. Some he did just because that's what he liked to do. And it was the one thing that he was really good at.
The beauty of this arrangement was that it allowed Henry to conceal the true motive for many of his crimes. Those performed as contract hits looked like all of Henry's murders - senseless and random acts of violence. In Henry's version of events, it was Toole who was responsible for Henry's recruitment and training by the cult and many of the pair's exploits thereafter. Interestingly, in all the standard biographies of the pair, Toole is said to have been Henry's severely retarded junior partner.
It is quite clear from reading an interview granted by Toole to a journalist (of sorts) that he was not by any means retarded. Uneducated, no doubt, but definitely not severely retarded. Toole was in fact able to express himself quite clearly, though perversely, and displayed a substantial level of knowledge about the practices of Satanism. In fact, Toole - prior to his death in 1996- was able to give detailed accounts of he and Henry's activities that largely corroborated Henry's stories about the cult. But beyond the stories told by these two credibility-challenged witness/participants, is there any reason to believe Henry's bizarre tale of being a contract killer?
And what of Henry's other stories, including the one about being a close friend of Jim Jones of the People's Temple? Henry has claimed on numerous occasions that it was he who personally delivered the cyanide to Jones that was used in the infamous Jonestown massacre.
What are we to make of such stories? Could Henry have been telling the truth about being a contract killer? And if so, did the contracts he was receiving have some kind of government connection? Though Henry never broaches the subject in his book, the training camp as he describes it clearly had military connections. And Henry has explicitly stated that the cult included among its members various prominent persons, including high level politicians. Could this be the reason for the actions taken by Governor Bush in June of 1998?
Henry Lee Lucas
"A U.S. Navy psychologist, who claims that the Office of Naval Intelligence had taken convicted murderers from military prisons, used behavior modification techniques on them, and then relocated them in American embassies throughout the world ... The Navy psychologist was Lt. Commander Thomas Narut of the U.S. Regional Medical Center in Naples, Italy. The information was divulged at an Oslo NATO conference of 120 psychologists from the eleven nation alliance ... The Navy provided all the funding necessary, according To Narut.
"Dr. Narut, in a question and answer session with reporters from many nations, revealed how the Navy was secretly programming large numbers of assassins. He said that the men he had worked with for the Navy were being prepared for commando-type operations, as well as covert operations in U.S. embassies worldwide. He described the men who went through his program as 'hit men and assassins' who could kill on command.
"Careful screening of the subjects was accomplished by Navy psychologists through the military records ... and many were convicted murderers serving military prison sentences."
(Harry V. Martin and David Caul "Mind Control, Napa Valley Sentinel, August-November 1991.)
Anyone familiar with the intelligence community's long-standing obsession with the concept of mind control will immediately recognize what Dr. Narut was describing as an MK-ULTRA project. The existence of this particular manifestation of the project was first reported by British journalist Peter Watson of the Sunday Times, who attended the conference and interviewed Dr. Narut. Narut told him that they looked for candidates who had shown a proclivity for violence.
This was at a time when numerous pseudo investigations of the intelligence community were underway, including the Rockefeller, Pike, and Church Committees. Narut told Watson that he was revealing this highly classified information only because he assumed it was about to surface anyway.
Of course, Narut was mistaken about the interest of the various committees in divulging anything even remotely resembling the truth. Narut promptly disappeared from public view, reappearing only briefly to lamely attempt to retract his prior statements. But it was a little too late.
Watson went on to expand upon this initial research to produce a book, War on the Mind, one of the better books from the late 1970's on the subject of mind control research by the intelligence community. Walter Bowart referenced Watson's work as well, in his nearly impossible to find Operation Mind Control. So this cat, once let out of the bag, proved rather difficult to stuff back inside. The intelligence community, it seemed, was recruiting from prisons to make use of the natural talents of convicted killers to produce the fabled 'Manchurian Candidates' - mind controlled assassins.
This operation involved killers drawn from military prisons, though there is no reason not to suspect that parallel programs were being conducted in civilian prisons as well. Prisons have, after all, provided fertile ground for any number of MK-ULTRA sub projects for decades. As the Napa Valley Sentinel article noted: "Mind control experiments ... permeate mental institutions and prisons." This was particularly true in the 1960's and 1970's. The NATO conference at which Dr. Narut dropped his bombshell was held in July of 1975. Strangely enough, the very next month Henry would be released to begin his eight year reign of terror.
Clearly of relevance here is the fact that Lucas, during his prior ten year prison stay, spent four and a half of those years in a mental ward. During this time, he received intensive drug and electroshock treatments. He would later describe this period of incarceration as a "nightmare that would not end." Also during this time, he complained chronically about hearing voices in his head, taunting him day and night (ostensibly the reason for his confinement in the mental ward, though it could well have been the result of his confinement and treatment). Henry would later spend additional time in an institution in 1980, in the midst of his killing spree.
Was Henry recruited and programmed while in prison to be used latter by the so-called Hand of Death cult? The possibility clearly is there. He certainly had shown a voracious appetite for violence, enough so to make him a very attractive candidate. Indeed, Henry is just the kind of man to be considered a valuable asset by the intelligence community.
For anyone who doubts that the CIA (or any other of the numerous interwoven intelligence agencies) would recruit such a man, it is important to remember that we are talking about the same agencies that recruited some of the most bloodthirsty butchers of the Third Reich - men such as Klaus Barbie, Joseph Mengele, Adolf Eichmann, Otto Skorzeny, and Reinhard Gehlen.
Henry's depravity pales in the shadows of men such as these. Henry probably couldn't even hold his own against some of the organized crime figures - such as Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Santos Trafficante who were likewise recruited by the CIA. Or against the numerous thugs that the spooks have propped up as dictators around the world, men such as Somoza, Pinochet, Duvalier and Pahlavi, to name just a few.
In the company of men such as these, Henry would be just one of the boys. No less valuable an asset than, say, Dan Mitrione, the CIA torture aficionado who was a boyhood friend of Jim Jones. This man, known for having homeless persons kidnapped for the purpose of giving torture demonstrations to South American security forces in his soundproof underground chamber of horrors, was hailed as a hero and martyr when he himself was tortured and killed. Hell, Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis flew into his home town and performed a benefit show to raise money for the widow of this great American. So in the world of spooks, Henry would be in good company. As would his partner, Ottis Toole, who wouldn't even have the distinction of being the only cannibal recruited by the CIA.
As Douglas Valentine writes in The Phoenix Program (Morrow, 1990)- concerning the CIA's assassination, torture and terror program waged against the people of Vietnam - the Phoenix teams consisted of SEALs working with "CTs," described by one participant as "a combination of ARVN deserters, VC turncoats, and bad motherfucker criminals the South Vietnamese couldn't deal with in prison, so they turned them over to us." The spooks were only too happy to employ the services of these men, who "taught [their] SEAL comrades the secrets of the psy war campaign." So depraved were these agency recruits that some of them "would actually devour their enemies' vital organs." All in a day's work for America's premier intelligence agency.
Also included in the CIA rogue's gallery of distinguished alumni, according to a number of researchers, is Lucas' self-described "close friend," the notorious Jim Jones. What then are we to make of Henry's professed connection to the tragic People's Temple? It has been documented by numerous investigators that the Jonestown massacre was not by any means a case of mass suicide, as was reported by the U.S. press. It was in fact a case of mass murder. The Guyanese coroner, Dr. C. Leslie Mootoo, concluded that only three of the 913 victims at Jonestown died by means of suicide on that fateful day. All of the rest were executed, some by lethal injection, some by strangulation, and some simply shot through the head.;
It is apparent then that if Lucas was in fact at Jonestown at the time of the mass murder, he was quite likely doing considerably more than just serving as a delivery boy. A man of Henry's talents would bean invaluable asset in a clean-up operation of this type. And what was being cleaned up was, of course, yet another MK-ULTRA project, complete with vast stockpiles of drugs, sensory deprivation equipment, and a band of zombie-like assassins who gunned down Congressman Leo Ryan's entourage just prior to the massacre (thus necessitating the clean-up operation.)
Strange that Henry would claim a connection to a man whose operation was notable primarily for being a breeding ground for mind control and mass murder. Of course Henry, being uneducated and illiterate, would not likely have had access to this information.
Even if Henry was literate, he would not have known the story that Maury Terry was to later tell in his book, The Ultimate Evil. Told therein is a tale that chillingly parallels that of Henry and Ottis. What Terry revealed was that the murders attributed to the Son of Sam, the Manson Family, and numerous other interconnected killings (including possibly the Zodiac murders) were not what they appeared to be.
While these killings appeared to be the random work of serial/mass murderers, they actually were contract hits carried out for specific purposes by an interlocking network of Satanic cults (this book has, by the way, recently been reprinted by Barnes & Noble - go figure - and is highly recommended to anyone who questions the plausibility of Henry's story.) In other words, these were professional hits orchestrated and disguised to look like the work of yet another 'lone nut' serial killer. Which is, of course, exactly what Henry claimed his crimes to be, several years before investigative journalist Terry published his convincingly documented work.
Lucas' story then, as bizarre as it may appear to be, is certainly not without precedent. Other events that have transpired since Henry first began telling his tales of The Hand of Death lend further credence to various aspects of his story. For example, there is the issue of the cult-run ranch just south of the border. While this may have sounded rather far-fetched back in the early 1980's, it certainly doesn't today. In 1990, just such a ranch was excavated in Matamoros, Mexico, yielding the remains of over a dozen ritual sacrifice victims. While Ottis Toole - still alive at the time - noted that this was not the specific ranch with which he and Henry were associated, he also mentioned that there were numerous such operations in the area.
So closely did the Matamoros case parallel the stories told years before by Lucas that some law enforcement personnel in Texas chose to take a closer look at Henry's professed cult connections. In fact, Jim Boutwell, sheriff of Williamson County, Texas later told a reporter that investigators had verified that Lucas was indeed involved in cult activities. And a decade later, yet another excavation was begun, this time at a ranch near Juarez, Mexico, which is precisely where Henry claimed it to be. This story made a brief appearance in the American press in December of 1999, until U.S. officials moved in to take over the investigation, after which coverage promptly ceased.
Of course, it could just have been lucky guesses by Henry about the cult-run ranches and the networks of Satanic cults running murder-for-hire operations. And it could just be a coincidence that Toole, who was convicted in the state of Florida, shared with Henry the fate of having his death sentence commuted. Florida is, of course, a state that is also overly zealous in its application of the death penalty. Not zealous enough to execute the likes of Ottis Toole, however. In any event, it's interesting that both of these men had their death sentences set aside in states run by a member of the Bush family.
Its interesting also to take note of the case of the man known as the Railroad Killer, Rafael Resendez-Ramirez. On July 13, 1999, Ramirez was reported to have walked across a bridge from (where else?) Juarez, Mexico into El Paso, Texas and turned himself in. At the time he was wanted for a string of alleged serial killings. Mirroring the circumstances surrounding Henry's final arrest, Ramirez had been taken into custody several weeks prior by the U.S. Border Patrol, only to be promptly released despite his presence on FBI most-wanted lists and the issuing of alerts to the immigration service, and with a nationwide manhunt under way.
Between this detainment and his surrender, four more victims would be felled by Ramirez (who was, strangely enough, born in Matamoros and raised outside of the home by non-family members, according to his mother). Apparently he still had a little work left to complete. Having done so, Ramirez then made the incomprehensible decision to surrender to Texas authorities. Crossing the border into Texas, Ramirez left a country with no death penalty and entered the execution capital of the western world. The Los Angeles Times, in reporting on his surrender, noted that he was "adamant he wanted to surrender to a Texas Ranger," and that "he had not requested an attorney and was cooperating with detectives."
In the same article, it is noted that authorities say Ramirez is "strikingly intelligent." Strikingly intelligent? Not based on his actions taken on July 13th of last year. But then again, perhaps Ramirez knows something about the Texas criminal justice system that the rest of us do not.
Ottis Toole: I've been meaning to ask you ... that time when I cooked some of these people? Why'd I do that?
Henry Lee Lucas: I think it was just the hands doing it. I know a lot of things we done, in human sight, are impossible to believe.
Ottis Toole: When we took 'em out and cut 'em up ... rememberone time I said I wanted me some ribs? Did that make me a cannibal?
Henry Lee Lucas: You wasn't a cannibal. It's the force of the devil, something forced on us that we can't change. There's no reason denying what we become. We know what we are.
Kirby The Konspiracy Boy Says, "I NEED 2 KONFORM!!!"